Southampton volunteer group supporting environment

Southampton volunteer group supporting environment

SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. – The Southampton Good Earth Gardeners are working on gardens all over the town to create alternative ways to support the environment.

“I put the cardboard on top of the grass, like that,” said co-chair Susan Seybolt. “There is the cardboard down, and then I just took the line here and turned it upside down.”

The volunteer group came together last year after noticing the negative effects of droughts and everyday gardening on the environment.

Seybolt said using cardboard under the plants is one way to support the ecosystem because it allows for the same soil to be used multiple times, creating more opportunities for native plants.

She said native plants are homegrown and are important because many insects need crops they're familiar with to survive.

“We often use too much fertilizer,” said Seybolt. “So you end up with more nitrogen in the soil than you want, and your crops suffer.”

Seybolt said fertilizer with pesticides and herbicides causes direct harm by killing weeds and healthy plants and insects in the process.

Co-chair Cindy Palmer said bagged mulch, and shredded wood, specifically without worms, is another alternative to save consumers money on fertilizer while building a stronger garden.

“This one is a natural hardwood mulch,” said Palmer. “It's just plain wood that will decompose itself into the garden over time. But the value is, it helps to hold down the weeds, and it helps to hold in the water.”

Seybolt understands maintaining a more eco-friendly garden might not please the eyes of everyone but hopes educating people on the benefits of creating healthy gardens will slowly change opinions.

“We're hoping over time that the aesthetic of gardening changes,” Seybolt said. “So it's less about really less about the sort of controlling nature and the environment but providing, it's both beauty and food.”

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